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Saturday, January 7th, 2012

2012 J. CURTIS SANFORD OFFENSIVE MVP TROPHY WINNER - ARKANSAS QB TYLER WILSON

Photo By: Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA
ARLINGTON -- Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson broke the Razorback single-season pass completion record, completed two touchdown passes and threw for 216 yards to claim the J. Curtis Sanford Offensive MVP honor in Friday night’s 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The junior propelled the seventh-ranked Razorbacks to a 29-16 victory over eighth-ranked Kansas State, giving Arkansas its first Cotton Bowl victory since 2000 and fourth all-time.

In his first season as a starter, Wilson led Arkansas to an 11-2 record, tying the school mark for most wins in a season. He becomes the fifth Arkansas offensive player to earn a Cotton Bowl postgame accolade and just the second Razorback QB to take home an award (1965, Fred Marshall).

“We pride ourselves as players and as a coaching staff as having our players prepared and mentally prepared, better than the opponent,” Wilson said.

The first Razorback quarterback to be named first team All-SEC, Wilson’s 438 pass attempts is the most in a single season by an Arkansas quarterback. He was 20-for-31 tonight and also finishes 2011 with 24 touchdowns. The 20 pass completions in tonight’s game put him at ninth on the all-time AT&T Cotton Bowl list.

“I thought offensively we kept our poise well,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I think our coaches did a nice job of just keeping us playing, keeping us working. We did a really nice job on the sideline of making sure Tyler (Wilson) understood what they were doing where are completions were going to come from.”

He also broke the school’s single-season pass completion record, ending the season with 277. He is the sixth Razorback to pass for two touchdowns in a bowl game.

The Greenwood, Ark., native concludes his junior campaign with 3,638 yards, second-most in a single season at Arkansas. Wilson, who appeared in six games in 2010, but didn’t start his first game until this season, connected with seven different receivers on the night as Arkansas notched its 13th bowl victory and two in the past three years.

With the Razorbacks leading 13-0 in the second quarter thanks to a field goal and punt return touchdown, Wilson orchestrated a six play, 61-yard drive which culminated in a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright to push Arkansas’s lead to 19-0.

Despite Arkansas’s large lead, K-State scored 16 unanswered points to cut the Arkansas advantage to 19-16. Wilson and the Razorbacks responded as the quarterback connected with Cobi Hamilton on a nine-yard pass to cap a nine-play, 58-yard drive just under the four minute mark in the third quarter.
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